Homemade Bialys


The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Prep: 45 mins
Cook: 15 mins
Rise Time: 3 hrs
Total: 4 hrs
Servings: 12 servings
Yield: 12 bialys
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
246 Calories
3g Fat
45g Carbs
8g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 246
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 4%
Saturated Fat 0g 2%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 262mg 11%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 8g
Vitamin C 1mg 7%
Calcium 23mg 2%
Iron 1mg 4%
Potassium 114mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These delightful round doughy treats might look similar to bagels at first glance, but bialys are somewhat different. Instead of a hole, they are filled with sautéed onion and poppy seed, and bialys are actually much easier to make at home since they are baked, rather than boiled and then baked like bagels. This creates a matte surface on the outside, instead of the sheen we are used to on a bagel.

Bialys are best fresh from the oven with a liberal slather of butter. They also taste great toasted and topped with cream cheese and smoked salmon.


For the Dough:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm water, 110 F to 115 F

  • 1 package (2 1/4 teaspoons) active dry yeast

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 5 cups bread flour

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

For the Onion-Poppy Seed Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups finely chopped onion

  • 2 teaspoons poppy seeds, more for garnish

  • Coarse salt, to taste

  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steps to Make It

Make the Dough

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Bialys ingredients

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar. Allow it to sit until foamy, about 10 minutes.

    combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Add the bread flour and kosher salt. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on the lowest setting until just combined, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium, and knead the dough until smooth, about 8 minutes. The dough will be smooth and elastic but also dense and firm to the touch.

    Add the bread flour and kosher salt

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Turn once to coat, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and let sit at room temperature until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.

    Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Make the Filling

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 15 minutes.

    make the filling

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Remove from heat, stir in 2 teaspoons of the poppy seeds, and season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Set aside to cool.

    Remove from heat and add poppy seeds

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

Form and Bake the Bialys

  1. Uncover and punch down the dough. Cover again and let sit until doubled in size again, about 1 hour.

    punch down the dough

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  2. Uncover the dough and transfer it to a work surface. Portion into 12 equal-sized balls.

    Portion into twelve equal-sized balls

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  3. Place 6 balls each on 2 parchment-lined baking sheets. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit until puffed, about 30 minutes.

    place balls of dough on 2 parchment lined baking sheets

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  4. Heat the oven to 450 F. Uncover the balls, and, using your fingers, press the center of each to make an indentation. Continue to press and stretch the center of each ball until the middle is thin and flat with a thick ring of dough on the outer edge. Allow them to rise while the oven heats.

    press the center of each to make an indentation

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  5. When ready to bake, fill the centers of each dough round with about 1 teaspoon of the onion-poppy seed filling.

    fill the centers of each dough with filling

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  6. Working with one baking sheet at a time, spray the bialys with water until completely coated. Sprinkle the edges with additional poppy seeds and coarse salt. Repeat with the other baking sheet. Bake until lightly browned but still soft, about 15 minutes.

    spray the bialys with water and bake bialys

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

  7. Serve the bialys warm from the oven. Enjoy.

    Serve the bialys warm

    The Spruce / Kristina Vanni

How to Store

Any leftover bialys should be kept in a paper bag rather than a plastic bag. This will help to keep them fresh so they don't get soft and squishy. Place in the refrigerator, but plan to eat them within a day or two. They are best eaten warm, although some do like to eat bialys cold.

Where do bialys come from?

The history of the bialy can be traced back to Bialystock, Poland. In the early 1900s, Eastern European Jews immigrated to America and brought the recipe for the bialy with them, particularly to New York City. Today they can be found in bakeries in cities with a history of Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe, but their availability is limited.

This particular type of bread product should not be confused with a flagel, which is simply a flattened bagel.